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Platinum: A Life in Music
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock
The four-CD box-set Platinum was released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Elvis's death. While much of the material here is made up of familiar hits, there are also 77 unreleased performances spread over the set. Of... more »
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The four-CD box-set Platinum was released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Elvis's death. While much of the material here is made up of familiar hits, there are also 77 unreleased performances spread over the set. Of course, unreleased doesn't necessarily mean better. The original versions of "Heartbreak Hotel," "Rip It Up," and "That's All Right" are so firmly embedded as the foundations of rock & roll that the new versions here add little luster. But what makes Platinum a real treasure-trove is hearing Elvis off mic, whether off-duty or working up songs in the studio prior to recording. Presley had an instinctive grasp of all manner of music; as you can hear on these tracks, he could slip with ease from rock & roll to gospel, ballads, or the blues. Among the most revealing recordings are of Elvis relaxing at home, tackling such diverse material as "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen," "Blowin' in the Wind," and "Blueberry Hill." Platinum may not be ideal as an introduction to the music of Presley, but--filled as it is with rare photos and a sensitively written song-by-song commentary--it provides an illuminating insight into the man whose shadow casts itself long into the 21st century. --Patrick Humphries
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The first of the "unreleased" box sets
A Fan | VA | 03/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was the first of three Elvis box sets to primarily include previously unreleased versions and performances (the others being "Today, Tomorrow, and Forever" and "Close Up"). BMG/RCA must have been unsure of the marketability of a set made up exclusively of unreleased material, so they hedged their bets with this set by including 23 hits along with 77 previously unreleased recordings. This is a very good collection and provides some interesting insight into Elvis' artistic and recording evolution. While most of the alternate versions are close to the final releases, they tend to have a less polished sound which in some cases I actually prefer. Closing the set with an excerpt from Elvis' JayCees speach was a nice touch - very moving.
Out of the three "previously unreleased" box sets, I would rank this one a close second to "Today, Tomorrow, and Forever", primarily because that one contains 100 previously unreleased recordings while this one only has 77. However, both are certainly worthwhile projects for avid Elvis fans - though they are overkill for average fans."
A Remarkable Life in Music
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 07/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Platinum" is a terrific 4-CD overview of Elvis Presley's artistry from 1954 to 1977. Along with the essential classics, this set includes a gold mine of previously unreleased material. The 1970 jam sessions on Disc 3 are a revelation - proving that Elvis could out-rock all comers. Presley's hard-edged run-through of "What'd I Say" is a masterpiece. Other gems include alternate takes of "Burning Love," "Promised Land," "Hurt" and "Way Down." In retrospect, "Platinum" is the finest display of Elvis' creative scope - an indispensable chronicle of the man and his music."
Phil S. | USA | 02/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is perhaps the best *balanced* Presley boxed-set yet. Familiar classics mixed with less familiar alternate takes. The casual fan who might be unfamiliar with a later tune like "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" can hear it in its original release version; can also hear "Heartbreak Hotel" in an entertaining variation. For the dedicated student, there's an amazing amount of tracks with a level of creativity not reached in the first issue ("Guitar Man"), others.
Brightest highlight: a looser, more rockin' (if you can believe it) workout on "A Big Hunk O' Love" - I think Little Richard himself would be impressed. The hit single was one of the greatest in R & R history, but this less-polished take is one for the ages. The more serious, "personal", Country ballad, "Always On My Mind" caught me a little off-guard. I must be getting older because it nearly brought me to tears - this man is crying out from the deepest recess of his soul. Willie Nelson's made a terrific record of the tune, but this cut surpasses Nelson's *and* Presley's original. "Bossa Nova, Baby" lacks the punch of the hit 45rpm, but has the same fun atmosphere. A few different lyrics will make the collectors smile. "You'll Never Walk Alone" is another intense statement - and another lost multi-million seller. It took a while for folks to really appreciate his performance - and to learn that was him at the piano! It's still electrifying 37 years later.
There are some problems in sound quality, in A & R, and in historical notation. The "Bad Nauheim Medley" is barely discernable; "Blowin' In The Wind" never should have been included - it works only for the nearly obsessed collector; his accompaniment is apparently a record!. "After Loving You" has little relation to the gem on "From Elvis In Memphis". Also note that two tracks are said to be from '61 when now we read that they were from '59 - actually a big difference in time and in Presley's vocal development. Not a major flaw by any means but to have a progression of dates go '67, '66, then '61 on Disc 2 spoils the overall delivery somewhow.
The written notes of Colin Escott are tremendous; the photographs are too."